How To Get Tie-Dye Nails Without Making A Smeary Mess, According To The Pros

Courtesy of Taryn Multack

Do you remember the last time you wore anything tie-dye? Most likely it was a couple of decades ago — unless, that is, you've been on top of one of summer's most experimental trends. Tie-dye is back, and it's been reimagined as an appropriate print for the grown-up crowd. Even better, gone are the days when the pattern was just for your white shirts — instead tie-dye nails are a summer 2019 trend that's here to stay. Well, at least until September.

Why the revival of tie-dye? “It’s a design that has always been here, but since tie-dye got popular in fashion this summer, the nail industry also started making it trendy,” says celebrity nail artist Park Eunkyung, who's referring to the print's meteoric rise thanks to labels like Chloé, Proenza Schouler, and Prada. For nails, though, Eunkyung's says combinations of neon colors and denim blue colors are among the most popular iterations. “I think pastel neon colors are especially pretty because it clearly shows the pattern with delicate colors.”

But according to nail artist Taryn Multack, the trend is gaining popularity due to its nostalgic factor. “Nostalgia hits hard as you get older and tie-dye reminds so many people of summer camp. It’s only natural they’d want to recreate it into nail art — especially since there’s not just one way to get them right.”

If you want to get into the crafty spirit for old time’s sake, creating tie-dye nails isn't hard at all. “Start with a white base and let it dry. Then use a short striping brush or a dotting tool to create small dashes of color,” says Julia Murphree, a beauty and nail art expert. Then move to the center of your nail and lightly dab dashes of the first color in a spiral shape, moving outward. Murphree then notes to use a second color to repeat the same steps — it’s ok if the colors overlap a bit.

For an option that's less messy, you can still start with a white a base and use a permanent marker for your design. “When using the marker, use different colors to make the pattern. Then, dip a brush in alcohol to use it to smudge the colors. Marker strokes will create a pattern as it smudges the color,” Eunkyung notes.

Although this process seems time-consuming, it’s actually faster than a mani and pedi combination. “Give yourself an hour your first go — it’s fun to experiment and find the technique that will work best for you. The beauty of this design is that it celebrates organic imperfections,” Multack says.

Ahead see the creamiest and most pigmented shades you'll need to get your tie-dye swirls.

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